'Live' show struts with Porter, others on Broadway

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For a few hours this week, Michael Strahan got to step into Billy Porter's shoes.

Considering Mr. Porter, a Pittsburgh native, performs eight shows a week playing a drag queen in spike-heeled thigh-high lace-up "Kinky Boots" on Broadway, this was no easy feat. The 6-foot-5 Mr. Strahan, co-host with Kelly Ripa of the New York-based "Live With Kelly and Michael," is a former NFL giant whose moves on the playing field were not constricted by crazy footwear.

As part of the show's annual "Broadway on Live" week, the co-hosts spent time with the casts of "Pippin," "Motown the Musical," "Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella," "Kinky Boots" and, this morning, "Matilda."

Carnegie Mellon University grad Patina Miller, who won the 2013 best actress Tony for "Pippin," was featured in a segment with Ms. Ripa Monday.

Mr. Strahan had a couple of walk-on roles during Tuesday's "Kinky Boots" performance, later taking a photo with co-stars Mr. Porter and Stark Sands. Taped segments of the experience were broadcast Thursday. "Live With Kelly and Michael" airs on WTAE at 9 a.m. weekdays.

"Broadway on Live" has gotten more elaborate in recent years, but it's a highlight for all involved, said Michael Gelman, "Live's" executive producer.

"With pre-taping and editing, it does take a lot of work to put all this together. ... There is a lot of coordinating with [the Broadway actors'] schedules because they've got shows to do.

"Luckily, my producer who I assigned this to, John Ogle, he's a real Broadway aficionado and a great field producer. This has kind of been his baby for the last couple of months."

He said it also helps that the "Live" co-hosts are game for anything.

"They are willing to put themselves out, trying all this stuff. It always surprises me: Kelly and Michael are both such confident and talented performers, but when it comes to Broadway, they both get butterflies.

"Michael gets a little stage fright. It's definitely out of his comfort zone, but that's what we love about the two of them."


Maria Sciullo: msciullo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG.


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